December 11, 2007 in Nation/World

Female president takes office

The Spokesman-Review
The Spokesman-Review photo

(Full-size photo)

Cristina Fernandez was sworn in Monday as Argentina’s first elected female president, completing a rare husband-wife transfer of power that the nation hopes will ensure continued recovery from an economic meltdown.

Fernandez, whose husband, Nestor Kirchner, is credited with leading Argentina out of its 2001-02 economic distress, vowed to increase his center-left economic programs, create jobs and reduce poverty levels.

During her hourlong inaugural speech, Fernandez’s voice rose in anger as she demanded faster progress from dozens of slow-moving court investigations of human rights abuses of the country’s 1976-83 dictatorship.

Nearly 13,000 people are officially listed as missing or dead under a “dirty war” crackdown on dissent by past military governments. Activists estimate nearly double that number died.

LIMA, Peru

Ex-president’s trial for slayings begins

Waving his arms in outrage and shouting that he is innocent, Alberto Fujimori went on trial Monday on charges of using a death squad to kill leftist guerrillas and collaborators.

It is the first time in Peru’s history that a former president faces a trial for crimes committed during his administration – and one of the few cases of a Latin American leader being tried after leaving office.

Fujimori faces charges he authorized the 1992 death-squad slayings of nine students and a professor at La Cantuta University, and the 1991 killings of 15 people in a tenement in Lima’s Barrios Altos neighborhood. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.

He also is charged with ordering the kidnapping of a prominent journalist and a businessman, who were interrogated by army intelligence agents and released. Fujimori, 69, denies any involvement.


Cargo train links two Koreas

The first cargo train providing regular service across the border between the two Koreas in more than a half-century left today for the North.

The 12-car train carrying construction materials will cross through the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone dividing the peninsula on its journey to the North Korean border city of Kaesong, where the two Koreas operate a joint industrial zone. It was to cross back later today.

The service is one of the tangible results of an October summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun that outlined a series of joint projects.

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